Leadership forum to drive clean energy transition plan

Some of the members of the Energy Transition Leadership Forum who travelled to Canberra to deliver their blueprint. Photo: Ricky Lloyd/UNSW Australia
Some of the members of the Energy Transition Leadership Forum who travelled to Canberra to deliver their blueprint. Photo: Ricky Lloyd/UNSW Australia

A group of 17 prominent leaders have come together to present the federal government with a blueprint to drive a national transition to clean energy by 2050 or sooner.

The eight-point action plan was unveiled at Parliament House in Canberra and delivered to the Federal Minister for the Environment and Energy, Josh Frydenberg.

The blueprint was drafted over recent months by the Energy Transition Leadership Forum, chaired by UNSW President and Vice-Chancellor Professor Ian Jacobs and made up of 17 leaders from key sectors.

“Transitioning to clean energy will be a complex process that needs to involve all key parties,” Prof Jacobs said.

“Climate change is one of the biggest challenges facing humanity and I believe the Forum blueprint provides an opportunity to make a difference and to move Australia forward to becoming carbon neutral as quickly as possible.”

The blueprint detailed the following eight actions needed to drive a clean energy transition:

1. Update the electricity market to speed up a clean energy transition
2. Facilitate and accelerate the inevitable closure of coal plants
3. Accelerate the uptake of clean energy and support the development of new technology
4. Create an attractive sustainable investment environment for clean energy
5. Ensure a just transition for communities and workers
6. Protect vulnerable Australians
7. Make Australia’s buildings and businesses much more efficient users of energy
8. Dramatically reduce transport emissions

ACF President Geoff Cousins, who formed the group with Prof Jacobs, noted Australia had never had a proper transition blueprint for any industry in its history, not even the automobile industry.

“When you operate in that way, people lose their jobs, there isn’t any plan for them to get new jobs, and the economy doesn’t function as well.

“The blueprint we’re looking at here is not just a plan that looks at climate change issues or technology issues, it also looks at employment and investment, and how to get the ‘first mover’ advantage in leading the world so that the good new jobs in the clean energy sector come to Australia instead of somewhere else.”